18 C
New Delhi
Wednesday 19 February 2020

CJI Bobde speaks up against excessive taxation

CJI SA Bobde's speech at the ITAT function would remind history buffs of the world's first pro-market economist, India's very own Chanakya

A week before the presentation of the general budget, 2020-21, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that tax should not be burdened on the citizens. While tax evasion is a social injustice to the rest of the country, the CJI said, if the government imposes arbitrary or excessive taxes, it will also be a social injustice by the government.

Reminding people of the world’s first pro-market economist, India’s very own Chanakya or Kautilya, the CJI cited ancient laws of the land on taxation. He said taxes should be collected from people in a manner honey bee draws nectar from flowers without harming it.

CJI Bobde was speaking on the occasion of the 79th establishment ceremony of the Income Tax Tribunal (ITAT).

While successive finance ministers in India have eased income tax on the middle class by tweaking the slabs and the rates of this particular kind of tax and GST rates are constantly reduced in council meetings, several governments in the recent past including the current one squeeze money out of the people through “cess”, a tax charged over another tax to meet the financial demand of a certain project of the government of the day.

CJI Bobde speaks up against excessive taxation

Swachh Bharat is funded since 2015 by a 0.5% cess on services. The Narendra Modi government hiked the cess on petrol and diesel in 2019. Current minister with the finance portfolio Nirmala Sitharaman introduced a communist-like tax the “super-rich” must pay. Cess was how both the British government and the Jawaharlal Nehru government used to fund their fancy projects. Indian taxpayers pay cess on school, higher and senior citizens’ education and for farmers by way of the Krishi Kalyan cess too.

The salaried class complains also about the fact that they are the only taxpayers whom the income tax system punishes via TDS; the business class gets away by under-reporting their real income.

Concerned about a huge backlog of tax-related cases, the CJI said, “A just and speedy dispute resolution is perceived as a tax incentive by the taxpayer. To the tax collector, an efficient tax judiciary assures that demands arising out of legitimate assessment are not strangled in delayed litigation.”

At the Supreme Court, High Court and Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) 2,73,591 cases were pending as on 30 June 2017 whereas the backlog had significantly dropped to 1,05,756 as on 31 March 2019, which was a reduction of 61%.

As many as 3.41 lakh direct tax cases were pending before commissioner (appeals) while 92,205 cases were unaddressed before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) as on 31 March 2019.

The CJI said that an efficient tax justice system should ensure that the cases arising out of valid assessment did not get caught in litigation. He reminded the audience that in 2008, the United Nations Development Programme had taken the Indian Income Tax Appellate Tribunal as a case study of a success story from the developing world and it was introduced as a role model to other developing countries during the UNDPI event in New York.

On the question of automation to speed up trials, the CJI preferred a balance between artificial intelligence and human discretion.”I am firm in the view based on the experience of systems that have used artificial intelligence that it is only the repetitive area or decision making that is rates of taxation etc or something which is invariably the same which is in a sense mechanical that must be covered by artificial intelligence. I do not believe that artificial intelligence should ever be allowed to substitute the human discretion which is necessary for a just decision making,” he said.

Stay on top - Get daily news in your email inbox

Sirf Views

Tapas Pal, A Death No One Would Genuinely Condole

In 1980, after Bengali film superstar Uttam Kumar died, Dadar Kirti of Tarun Majumdar was released after Durga Puja. The voice...

Must India Invest In Donald Trump?

As many of his cabinet picks know, to their eternal regret and shame, his commitment lasts only as long as you are gullible

Protesters Need Economic Education, Mr Bhagwat

There is no escape from misery unless teams of economic educators convince all sections of society socialism is the cause of their distress

BJP Could Not Have Won With This Approach To Delhi

From not paying attention to the corruption-ridden MCD to aloof leaders whose houses witnessed no activity during campaigns, BJP went all wrong in the Delhi assembly election

AAP Win In Delhi Was Foregone Conclusion: 5 Reasons

The five factors that contributed to the AAP victory have been arranged in the decreasing order of relevance; the first three will remain constant for a few more Delhi elections

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

For fearless journalism

%d bloggers like this: